Near-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy (NEXAFS) is widely used to probe the chemistry and structure of surface layers. Moreover, using ultra-high brilliance polarised synchrotron light sources, it is possible to determine the molecular alignment of ultra-thin surface films. However, the quantitative analysis of NEXAFS data is complicated by many experimental factors and, historically, the essential methods of calibration, normalisation and artefact removal are presented in the literature in a somewhat fragmented manner, thus hindering their integrated implementation as well as their further development. This paper outlines a unified, systematic approach to the collection and quantitative analysis of NEXAFS data with a particular focus upon carbon K-edge spectra. As a consequence, we show that current methods neglect several important aspects of the data analysis process, which we address with a combination of novel and adapted techniques. We discuss multiple approaches in solving the issues commonly encountered in the analysis of NEXAFS data, revealing the inherent assumptions of each approach and providing guidelines for assessing their appropriateness in a broad range of experimental situations.
Journal of Electron Spectroscopy and Related Phenomena Vol. 151, Issue 2, p. 105-120